8 Rural and Remote Escapes in Scotland

Come and discover the true meaning of the word ‘escape’ by heading to some of the most remote places to stay in Scotland.

Everyone needs time to switch off and recharge. Try some of these remote stays in Scotland and you’ll be rewarded with the most serene and undiscovered places.

  1. Stay in a Remote Rural Cottage in Dumfries & Galloway Dumfries & Galloway

    Galloway Activity Centre

    © VisitScotland / Stuart Brunton

    The lands of Dumfries & Galloway offer a rural wellness escape like no other.

    From mountain biking in the Galloway Forest Park to strolls along the region’s long-distance route, the Southern Upland Way, there are lots of opportunities to feel inspired by the natural beauty of the south west. If you’re interested in the science of the Lowland landscape, check out the work of the UNESCO-backed Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, which promotes sustainability within this incredible environment.

    Stay at one of the Loch Ken Eco Bothies at Galloway Activity Centre. These custom-built structures are powered by solar panels and made from renewable materials. Each bothy has a wood burning hot tub and a kayak, but there are no TVs or Wi-Fi, so pick one for your perfect digital detox.

  2. Enjoy a Rural Escape in Morvern Lochaber, West Highlands

    Castle Stalker on Loch Linnhe

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    A stunning secret peninsula, Morvern is only a short crossing over Loch Linnhe on the Corran Ferry, just a few miles from the bustling Highland town of Fort William.

    If you like hidden beaches, towering peaks and straying off the beaten track, this spot is for you.

    Stay at the Kingairloch Estate. You can stay inside traditional buildings, including the Old Post Office or the Old School, both of which offer stunning loch and mountain views.

  3. Remote Self-Catering on the Isle of Foula Shetland

    Ristie Self Catering

    This one is a real adventure. Foula is thought to be the most remote inhabited island in the UK, lying 20 miles west of Mainland Shetland.

    The name Foula comes from the Old Norse for ‘bird island’, and the 1937 classic film The Edge of the World, directed by Michael Powell, was filmed here. Framed by some of Britain’s highest cliffs, you’ll likely be joined by puffins, Shetland ponies, seals and even some very unique-looking sheep.

    Stay at Ristie Self Catering, a cosy croft house situated right beside the incredible Da Gaada Stacks with a warm island welcome.

    Key facilities
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Breakfast Available
  4. Switch off in Lochgilphead Argyll & The Isles

    The harbour at Crinan, Argyll

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Time to turn the spotlight back to the west, with a visit to glorious Argyll. The Crinan Canal meanders nine miles through the ancient Dalriada kingdom from Ardrishaig to Crinan and is filled with ancient forests, cycle routes and incredible seafood.

    Take the 3-mile route around Loch Collie Bharr and Dubh Loch to see if you can find beavers along the Scottish Beaver Trail. Meanwhile, the Taynish Nature Reserve is another beautiful woodland trail – venture through ancient oak trees and keep your eyes peeled for otters. The magical Kilmartin Glen is also nearby, famed for its forest tales and mystery.

    The town of Lochgilphead is a seafaring spot, with lots of boat trips available if you want to see some marine life, including basking sharks, minke whales and dolphins.

    Stay in a woodland lodge at Bradan Estate. With no Wi-Fi, you’ll really be able to switch off with wood fires, a hot tub and beautiful views to distract you from your screens.

  5. A Remote Farm Lodge in Caithness Highlands

    Duncansby Stacks

    Head up to the north east tip of Scotland. This corner, sometimes missed by the masses, isn’t short of stunning sights.

    Pick up the path from John o’ Groats to Duncansby Head and take a wander where you’ll see two giant sea stacks. It’s a great surf spot (for those who love the prospect of jumping in the North Sea) and the region is home to more brochs than anywhere else in Scotland.

    Stay at the Caithness View Farm Lodges for a taste of countryside living. Located on a family farm, these luxury lodges offer relaxation with a simpler way of life.

  6. Stay on a Boat around the Isle of Canna Small Isles

    Gravel biking on Rum

    © @catwebster

    The ‘small isles’ of Canna, Eigg, Muck and Rum lie to the south of Skye, and setting sail is a wonderful way to experience these isles.

    From Oban, cruise in the shadow of the Skye Cuillin mountains and navigate to Canna. On the island, you’ll discover many treasures, including deserted beaches, fascinating geology, a rich heritage and fabulous local food from Café ~Canna, who produce their own beer and serve up tasty shellfish.

    The island may be ancient, made from the lava of the neighbouring Isle of Rum, but it is entirely self-powered by wind turbines, bringing its ethos very much into the 21st century.

    You can head for the seas and stay on a sailing boat with the Oban-based charter boat, Alba Sailing, or do day trips from Elgol on Skye.

  7. Book a Remote Cottage in the Scottish Borders Newcastleton

    Smailholm Tower

    Next up, the south east. The Scottish Borders has everything you could possibly want for an off-grid getaway – wildlife, castles and a bit of adventure.

    Take a wildlife tour with Wild Eskdale and see if you find the pair of elusive golden eagles, or tear up forest tracks with a day of mountain biking in Newcastleton Forest. Mix in a bit of history, with visits to Fatlips Castle, Hermitage Castle and Smailholm Tower, then finish it all off with a tour of the Borders Distillery.

    Stay at the rugged Singdean, a secluded hut with a private outdoor hot tub and sauna, you might feel that you’ve fled to an alpine mountain chalet.

  8. A Quiet Hotel on the Isle of Jura Argyll & The Isles

    The Paps of Jura at sunset

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Wild deer outnumber people on Jura, so if that sounds appealing, head to this island (Islay’s next door neighbour) to get lost in nature. You’ll be in good company – this is where George Orwell stayed when he sought peace and quiet to write his book 1984.

    Stay at the Jura Hotel. In the peaceful village of Craighouse, the hotel is just metres from the Jura Distillery and is home to the island’s only pub. Enjoy incredible views and beer garden in the summer which overlooks the ocean.

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